mercredi 2 octobre 2013



"Interest in philosophy has gradually diminished and will, I believe, continue to wane, or at least its contours will change. Widespread interest among students has declined. There are, to be sure, as there always have been, spin-offs or quasi spin-offs—for example, experimental philosophy, cognitive science, neuroethics, bioethics, feminist and transgender philosophy, black philosophy, and so on—but many of the spin-offs do not have settled constituencies. There has also been a revival of interest in traditional metaphysics among some analytic philosophers, partially fueled by an interest in modalities, but philosophy no longer has the widespread undergraduate appeal it once had."
                                                Ruth Barcan Marcus, A philosophers's calling
                                                                   Dewey lecture, 2010  


lundi 30 septembre 2013

Bergson Bashing

"It is not by chance that M. Bergson expresses himself by metaphor piled on metaphor. He is forced by the necessity of his method to suggest by metaphor what escapes the limits of clear thought. His metaphors are not mere supertitious adornment, tricks of oratory, but a vital part of his philosophy. It is, therefore, as has been frequently pointed out, futile either to argue with M. Bergson or to seek arguments that support his position. He uses no argument ; he states his views with eloquence and supports them with metaphors, but he offers no loophole for discussion. The philosophy of creative evolution is indemonstrable, and he does not seek to demonstrate it. Either one will accept it and share in the intuition, or one will not. In either case, there is an end of the matter.  ...

…The resort to intuition in metaphysics gives rise to serious difficulties. It involves an extreme individualism. Each individual has his own intuition which cannot be expressed nor defended; there can be only reiteration without argument. Even if the intuition were expressible, it could not be refuted, for, since the appeal is to immediate intuition, there is no criterion that may decide between rival intuitions. It lays itself open, therefore, to many of the objections that have been offered against the ' moral sense." In each case, "orthodoxy is my opinion, heterodoxy is other people's opinions "! 

We are forced, then, on this theory to conclude that philosophy has no greater universality than art….Just as there is a science of Aesthetics, so there is a science of " living “…  This science is philosophy. It is not of course a positive science nor a normative science, but a system of knowledge which claims universality just as much as the exact sciences do, but with no more pretension to finality. To argue that, because a man's life involves a whole metaphysic, that, therefore, metaphysics is the art of living, seems to me to be analogous to arguing that because bodily movements are in conformity with, and therefore involve the laws of, positive science, that, therefore, such science is the art of bodily movement......

The object of philosophy is the attainment and communication of knowledge of Reality. In so far as the line between science and art is clearly drawn, philosophy is a science and not an art. We shall never learn philosophy by living it, any more than we shall know what justice is only by doing just actions.  M. Bergson is led to adopt the standpoint of art because he holds that to know a thing as it is, one must be it. The distinction between subject and object, the antithesis between the act of knowing and the thing known, is thus to be abolished in the interests of knowledge itself. 

Pragmatism and French voluntarism , Cambridge, Cambridge University Press 1914 ,146-148

                                                             Susan L. Stebbing 1885-1943